Hughes v Commission for Social Care Inspection EWCST, Court of Appeal - Establishments and Agencies, October 20, 2008, [2008] 1239(EA)

Resolution Date:October 20, 2008
Issuing Organization:Establishments and Agencies
Actores:Hughes v Commission for Social Care Inspection EWCST
 
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Care Standards Tribunal

1

John Lewis Hughes

- v -

The Commission for Social Care Inspection

[2008] 1239.EA

Before:

Mr. Stewart Hunter (Nominated Chairman)

Mr. Mike Flynn

Mr. David Tomlinson

Decision

Heard on the 25th, 28th, 30th and 31st July 2008 and the 1st August 2008.

Sitting at the Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court, Magistrates Court House,

North Quay, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.NR30 1PW

Representation

The Appellant appeared in person.

The Respondent was represented by Miss Lisa Sullivan of Counsel.

Appeal

1. This is an appeal by Mr. John Hughes under Section 21 (1) of the Care Standards Act 2000, against the decision of The Respondent dated the 10th January 2008, to cancel his registration in respect of a Care Home known as F situated in Great Yarmouth.

Preliminary Issues

2. On the 22nd April 2008 the President oft the Tribunal made a Restricted reporting order under Regulation 18 (1) of the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults and Care Standards Tribunal Regulations 2002 (``The Regulations'') prohibiting the publication (including by electronic means) in a written publication available to the public, or in the inclusion in a relevant programme for reception in England and Wales of any matter likely to lead members of the public to identify any service users.

At the conclusion of the hearing the Tribunal reaffirmed that the Restricted reporting order should remain in force until further order.

Evidence

3. The Inspection reports prepared by the Respondent in respect of F indicate that it is registered as a Care Home for 4 people with learning disabilities. The registered proprietor and registered manager is Mr. J. Hughes and that F was first registered in 1990.

4. Norfolk County Council was the regulatory authority who originally considered Mr. Hughes's application for registration of F, and they made a decision to refuse to grant registration. Mr Hughes appealed against that decision. The Tribunal were shown a copy of the order made by the Registered Homes Tribunal following a hearing in September, 1989. The decision being to allow Mr. Hughes's appeal, and direct that Norfolk's County Council's decision to refuse registration should have no effect. In giving their reasons for arriving at this decision the Registered Homes Tribunal in considering Mr. Hughes curriculum vitae stated that it was clear that ``in qualifications, experience and aptitude he is well suited to care for mentally handicapped persons and he has the support and assistance of his wife and other members of his family.''

5. The Registered Homes Tribunal also considered the reasons put forward by Norfolk County Council for refusing Mr. Hughes's application for registration, including a concern that the proposed registered care home was not separate from the hotel and guest house facilities in the same premises. The Registered Homes Tribunal found that the existence of three points of access between the hotel and the care home did not threaten the privacy, dignity and security of residents to such an extent as to render the premises unfit to be used for the purposes of a care home. The Tribunal went on to state that:-

``This does not mean that the premises are ideal, and we anticipate that Mr. and Mrs. Hughes will have to exercise more than usual care in carrying on the home so as to ensure that the privacy, dignity and security of residents are not in fact infringed .......''

The Tribunal were reassured in terms of care home residents gaining access to the hotel, by Mr. Hughes's evidence that there would be a ratio of 1 staff member to 1 resident and a maximum of 4 residents at any one time.

6. The Respondents in their recent inspection reports have described the services being provided at F. This has included the following:-

``F is a family run business set up to provide accommodation for up to four adults with a learning disability. The home is a terraced property situated close to the centre of Great Yarmouth. All residents have a single bedroom and there is ample communal space. The Registered provider also owns and manages a house in multiple occupation (``HIMO'') accommodating 29 people, in the adjoining properties. Access between the home and HIMO is provided through at least 3 connecting doors, which are usually kept unlocked.''

7. The Tribunal received evidence from Ms. Alison Mallett who is employed by the Norfolk Community Learning Difficulties Team as an Assistant Practitioner and has held that position for approximately the last 8 years. She signed a written witness statement in these proceedings dated the 9th July 2008 and also gave oral evidence. At paragraph 7 of her witness statement Ms. Mallett stated as follows:-

``I have worked with all four people who have been resident in F since I joined the Learning Difficulties Team. Only resident R BW was placed in the home by social services, although this was not by me. The other three people who have been resident in the home, RJW, (RW), SS and GM were placed in the home under what was known as preserved rights. Under this arrangement the care home fees were paid by the DSS and did not involve social services. Preserved rights came to an end in 2004 and residents were reassessed around that time to see if they met the criteria for social services to continue to pay their fees. We therefore became involved with service users SS, GM and RJW, (RW) following an assessment by the Preserved Rights team.''

8 Ms. Mallett went on in her witness statement to provide information regarding RBW, RW, SJS and GM.

In respect of RBW Ms. Mallett described him as having a full scale IQ of 63 which indicated that he had a mild learning disability. She went on to state:-

``He has a criminal record mostly for petty matters such as setting fire to bins. He has deep rooted emotional issues and is a vulnerable person. He will get in with the wrong crowd and is impressionable. He puts himself in vulnerable positions and cannot always see the consequences of this. He has no personal care needs but does have emotional needs. RBW requires a flexible service to meet his emotional needs.''

RBW was residing at F at the time of the Tribunal hearing. He had entered F on the 2nd April 2002 and apart from a period away in 2003 had remained at F ever since.

9. In respect of RW Ms. Mallett stated that she had very little information on his background prior to his move to F. Ms. Mallett considered that from the assessments she had carried out that:-

``RJW, (RW) does not have any personal care needs nor does he appear to have a learning disability. His IQ has not been measured but it appears that he can read and write quite well.''

She went on:-

``RJW (RW) does not see himself as a disabled person but he does not want to leave F. He enjoys going out drinking and being able to return to a safe place. If he lived independently he probably would not be able to afford this lifestyle.''

Ms. Mallett stated that she had first met RJW (RW) at F on the 2nd December 2004 and that RJW (RW) continued to reside at F at the time of the Tribunal hearing.

10. Ms. Mallett's first involvement with SJS was in the latter part of 2004 when she had carried out an assessment. In her witness statement she stated as follows:-

``He has epilepsy and is on medication but it did not appear to be an issue for him. He is unable to read and write. He is not a particularly vulnerable person and has a support network of friends a number of whom have children.''

In June 2006 SJS moved out of F into a privately rented flat. It was Ms. Mallett's understanding that since moving out of F, SJS had successfully managed to live independently.

11. The fourth service user with whom Ms. Mallett had had contact was GM. Ms. Mallett described GM as having:-

``.....some literacy and numeracy skills but he had no daytime occupation and appeared a rather vulnerable person who could become emotional and tearful.''

Ms. Mallett stated that she had received a telephone call from Mr. Hughes on the 2nd December 2003 advising her that GM had left F and had since the 7th November 2003 been living independently. Ms. Mallett was later advised in a letter from Mr. Hughes dated the 24th February 2004 that GM had returned to F. At paragraph 21 of her witness statement Ms. Mallett stated that:-

``As far as I am aware GM remained living at F without funding for a period of time and then transferred to the home in multiple occupation next door where he still lives without requiring support from social services.''

12. Included amongst the documents produced by Mr. Hughes in these proceedings were documents headed ``Statement of Purpose'', ``Statement of Purpose (additions)'' and ``Service User Guide'' all of which were said to have been received by the Respondent under the cover of a letter dated the 13th August 2004. The Statement of Purpose document indicated that the purpose of the home was to:-

``...... provide accommodation and support for 4 adults who have varying degrees of learning difficulties.''

and went on to state that:-

``Out of the current group of 4 male service users, 3 have low dependency (though this was not so on admission some ten years ago) and 1 recent admission who needs on-going support in the form of advice and counselling when depressed and frustrated by his perceived view of the world around him.''

and later in the same document:-

``The prime object of the home is to continue working at the maintaining of a stable family atmosphere where each individual is encouraged to use reason, to listen to points of views put forward by members of the staff team. Service users are also encouraged to challenge points of view and to help adjudicate progressing objectives and policies of the home itself. The philosophy of the home is to help the service user feel he/she is an important family member with a real place within the family.''

13. In describing the staffing arrangements at the home the Statement of Purpose indicated that:-

``The current staff support team consists of four males one of whom is employed...

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